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by Tyler Christopher

Chapter 2

"Boys," Mrs. Parker said pleasantly from the door. "Time to wake up. C'mon. I'm making apple cinnamon pancakes and bacon. Good morning."

"Morning, Melinda," Rick responded with a sleepy smile as he tightened his one-armed embrace around Dylan's body.

Mrs. Parker smiled at Rick for a moment. She then said, "Dylan, c'mon."

"Mom, I'm up," Dylan said with a smile, unmoving and eyes remaining closed. "I just wanna enjoy snuggling up to my Ricky Bug for a little longer."

Giggling at the sheer sweetness and adorableness of it, Mrs. Parker said, "Okay. Just be downstairs in a minute before your food gets cold."

After placing a soft kiss to the top of Dylan's head, Rick asked, "'Ricky Bug'? Where'd that come from?"

Smiling with embarrassment, Dylan answered, "I dunno. I think it's cute, along with your cutest morning voice. Do you not like it, Ricky Bug?"

Grinning with giddiness, Rick replied, "My morning voice is not cute! It's manly. And butch. And don't call me Ricky Bug any longer. I am far too masculine for such a nickname, no matter how adorable it is."

Smiling more, Dylan said, "How about... Ricky Chiseled Jaw?"

"Mmm, maybe too masculine."

"Hmm... how about--"

Rick drove his fingers to Dylan's underarms and ribs, tickling the teen. "How about we go eat breakfast."

Laughing, Dylan responded, "Rick! Stop! Don't- t-tickle!"

Rick stopped tickling his love and pressed his lips to Dylan's temple. "You ready to go eat? I'm starved."

Dylan noticed a spot on Rick's green tank. It was a different shade of green, lighter. He knew it was saliva. He knew he had drooled on Rick in his sleep.

Rick looked down at his body, where Dylan was looking. "Oh. Don't worry about it, babe. Everybody drools when they sleep facing down."

Feeling his face heat up, Dylan said quietly, "You- you just called me babe."

Smiling a small and proud smile, Rick responded, "Yeah. We share a heart bond1. Do you know what that means? You're my mate for life. I fell in love with you the second I saw you. I get to be all lovey and mushy with you whenever I want. Now let's go eat so we can go shopping. I'm excited to check out Connecticut Post Mall."

"Morning, boys," Mr. Parker said with a smile sitting at the kitchen table, glancing up from his laptop.

While leading Rick into the kitchen, Dylan said, "Hey, dad."

"Morning, Doug," Rick offered the man.

While pouring two mugs of coffee, Dylan asked, "Mind if we take a car later to Connecticut Post?"

"Have a clean driving record, Rick?" Mr. Parker asked sternly.

"Never been caught, sir," Rick replied with a smile as he stirred raw sugar into the hot liquid.

Smiling wryly, Mr. Parker said, "Good man."

"Work away, Doug," Mrs. Parker said as she sat a platter of pancakes and a platter of bacon on the table. "Dig in."

"How did your parents take the news of your bonding?" Mr. Parker asked as he used tongs to distribute food to each of the four plates.

"When I told them that my mate finally came of age, they were excited," Rick answered. "We all tried to stay positive before, before Dylan reached age. But I forgot to call them the nature of our bond. Mmm! These flapjacks are exquisite, Melinda."

Smiling appreciatively, Mrs. Parker said, "Thank you, Rick. Glad you like them."

"Tell us more about your siblings," Mr. Parker said as he sliced at his food.

"Mm, well, Maddy just turned sixteen last month and shares a paternal bond2 with a man who's from Ireland. She's very smart, set to graduate high school in June, a year early."

"Ambitious girl then?" Mrs. Parker asked.

"She wasn't until last year. She wants to move to Ireland as soon as possible. The man she's bonded with has a big family of his own, and they've invited her to live with them while she attends college there."

"And your other sister?" Mr. Parker asked. "Taylor, is it?"

"Yeah, Taylor. She'll be fifteen next year and has been antsy about bonding since she was twelve. She's especially anxious that her mate won't be what she needs or wants, or that they'll reject her."

After eating, Rick and Dylan placed the dishes into the dishwasher and wiped the countertops clean.

Dylan opened the door to the guest room and asked, "Share a shower?"

Seeing the two towels in Dylan's hand, Rick smiled and asked, "To save on water?"

Dylan shrugged one shoulder and replied, "Or to enjoy the visuals."

Rick slid his hand around Dylan's lower back and pressed a kiss to his forehead. After the kiss, Dylan stepped that much closer to Rick and nuzzled the side of his face to Rick's warm, firm chest.

In the communal bathroom, the two brushed their teeth. Every time their eyes met through the mirror, they couldn't help but to giggle and blush a little.

After wiping their faces of the foam, Dylan initiated a passionate kiss. After the kiss, they searched each other's eyes, finding brilliance there in the other's soul. Dylan grasped the hem of Rick's green tank and peeled the shirt off of his body.

Staring his Rick's sculpted body, Dylan said, "You are so beautiful."

Rick watched as Dylan inched his face toward his body. He moaned quietly upon feeling Dylan's lips being laid on his erect pink nipple. Dylan's tongue then traveled across his chest.

"You taste of salt," Dylan whispered before suckling on the other nipple. "Musky and salty. Sucks that we are biologically unable to arouse each other yet."

While kissing the uppermost abs, Dylan hooked his fingers in a Rick's shorts. As his lips traveled further south, so did Rick's shorts.

Rick's shorts fell down to his knees, and Dylan was transfixed on the penis before him. It was three inches long, flaccid, uncut, the head half exposed. Behind it was a pale pink scrotum that hung low, cradling two egg-sized balls inside.

Dylan stood back up onto his tiptoes, craning his neck up. Rick leaned down and met Dylan's lips. Rick then startled slightly and smiled slightly in the kiss, Dylan had wrapped his fingers around his dick. Dylan, introducing his tongue to Rick's, gently massaged the soft phallus.

Dylan dropped down off his toes smiling, and said, "Damned biology. I want so badly to--"

Dylan was cut off. Rick had bent forward, landing his lips to Dylan's neck. He suckled as he slid his hands under Dylan's grey tank, caressing the soft skin of Dylan's sides. After making a hickey, Rick removed his lips from Dylan's fair skin, Rick lifted his arms and quickly rid the cotton from Dylan's body.

"God damn, you're beautiful," Rick whispered, enraptured with Dylan's lithe, slim body.

Rick quickly, hungrily planted his lips to the pale skin of Dylan's flat chest. As he kissed there, Rick slid his hands into Dylan's red shorts, giving the pert bubble butt a good squeeze.

Dylan moaned loudly when Rick swiped his tongue on his brown nipple. Rick then moved his hands from Dylan's firm globes to his hips, and slid the polyester fabric down Dylan's legs.

"I- I so can't wait til we're able to have sex," Dylan said in a raspy voice.

Now kissing Dylan's neck and jaw, Rick replied, "The wait will be worth it. I love you no matter what."

"I love you more," Dylan replied.

Rick scoffed and said, "Let's shower. I feel disgusting from a long flight and being cuddled to death. Not that I'm complaining about that."

The two had showered in a companionable silence. Rick shampooed Dylan's brown hair while Dylan massaged a bar of Dove Men's soap over Rick's muscular back and sides.

Dylan entered the guest room without knocking, wearing a cobalt blue beanie that pushed back his bright brown hair. This afforded Rick the sight of Dylan's full face. Rick was surprised, pleasantly, that even more little black moles littered Dylan's forehead just like every other spot on the teen's body.

Rick was lying on the bed, his cell phone pressed against his ear.

"He is the most gorgeous guy I've ever met," Rick told his mom.

"Aww, pumpkin," Mrs. Berry gushed over the phone. "So I take it it's a heart bond?"

Holding his arm out, inviting Dylan in for a cuddle, Rick answered his mom, "Yeah, it's a heart bond. The bond formation was magical, mom. I felt like my life suddenly became complete. Like the missing puzzle pieces in my heart and in my mind was found. I've heard that happens with a heart bond, but feeling it for yourself is something else."

"I'm so happy for you, Ricky," Mrs. Berry gushed. "You have to bring him out to meet us soon."

"Yeah, mom. I was actually going to ask him to fly out in a couple weeks. We'll drive out to you guys for the day."

"Good, good. What's Dylan like?"

"He is just too beautiful. He's got a head of light brown hair that usually sweeps across his forehead, but right now he's wearing a hat that's pushing it back. His blue eyes display so much love, and affection, and adventure. He stands at just five-foot-two, but he's an aggressive cuddle monster. He's sweet, and kind, and loves to laugh and make others laugh. He takes school seriously, enrolled in five AP classes right now. He's almost as focused as Maddy."

"Dylan sounds amazing, Ricky," Mrs. Berry said sweetly. "We can't wait to meet him. Your sisters will be so thrilled to hear that you have a heart bond. They will not leave the boy alone when he comes out. What are his parents like?"

"Doug and Melinda are much the same," Rick replied. "Dylan gets his charm from them. They've welcomed me into the family without a second thought. Doug said that he's getting keys copied for me to their house. The soul bond, right? Even though I'll be with Dylan twenty-four-seven whenever I visit here."

"That's great, son. Will you request a mate-compatible dorm room now?"

"Yeah, tonight I'll be filling out the dorm change request form. I'll call you guys when I land tomorrow. Dylan and I are going shopping. I love you guys."

"Okay. I love you, Ricky. Tell Dylan that we look forward to meeting him."

"You got it, mom. Bye."

After Rick ended the call and sat his phone on his chest, Dylan asked, "So apparently you're inviting me to meet your family."

"Yeah. I was gonna ask you on the drive to the mall."

"I can't wait to meet them. My parents have already talked to me about that, they'll happily pay for my plane tickets. Just tell me what dates would be best."

"I was thinking to ask my boss for October 25 to 27 off from the cafe. You can fly in on the Friday evening, we will spend all of Saturday together, and then on Sunday morning we will drive to Auburn. It's a small town in California, about an hour and a half's drive from Reno. And then on Sunday evening I will drive you to the airport."

Dylan smiled as he gave Rick a chaste yet sweet kiss on the lips and responded, "That's a good plan. Now let's go."

While driving Mrs. Parker's blue Toyota SUV, Rick said, "So you're an only child. But I thought I could tell that your mom..."

"Was a little envious of you having siblings?" Dylan finished the thought. "My mom has a T-shaped uterus. My parents had difficulty conceiving me. It took them over four years of trying to get pregnant. They are happy to have me, after the doctors had told them that the chances of having any kids of their own were one in three billion or something like that. So they didn't try for any more."

Smiling at Dylan for a second and then turning his eyes back to the road, Rick replied, "Well I'm really glad that you are here. I can't imagine being bonded to anyone else."

"So tell me about your past relationships," Dylan asked lightly.

Rick answered, "I've never had one. My first kiss was with a girl in middle school named Olivia. We were thirteen, and the school was playing The Santa Claus in the gymnasium on a projector. My first kiss with a boy happened over a year later. His name was Walt, and his parents were hosting a New Year's Eve party. We shared a passionate kiss as the fireworks exploded above us. I've had sex with two guys; Xander and Pete. Not at the same time, though."

"Mm," Dylan said with a soft nod of his head. "Are you a top or a bottom? Versatile?"

"I'm versatile. I don't care either way, I enjoy it. Now tell me about your romantic past."

"I am straight," Dylan replied with a growing smile. "I had a girlfriend named Hannah for eight months. It tore me apart when she moved. Her parents wanted her to be closer to her soulmate in Delaware. It's just a kin bond3, so I hated her parents for relocating them. I'm still a virgin, but Hannah and I've had oral sex and I've used my fingers on her."

Smiling with his eyes still trained on the road, Rick said, "I guess that got you hard as a rock."

"I'd never jacked off so much in one day," Dylan replied with a gentle laugh.

"So how do you feel now?" Rick asked. "Having a male heart bond mate, I mean?"

"Last year if someone told me that I'd be romantically involved with a guy, I'd've called them crazy. But I don't mind it one bit. I'm actually happy to be in love with you. A week ago I was checking out boobs and whacking off to lesbian porn on PornHub. But after showering this morning I got hard as steel thinking about your big pecs, hard abs, and uncut dick."

Smiling with a rapidly blushing face, Rick reached over and grabbed Dylan's hand. He pulled Dylan's hand to his face and kissed his knuckles.

"Obviously you work out," Dylan said casually. "Our basement has a Treadclimber, and a Bowflex. My dad is really into fitness."

"I could tell. He's pretty hot. Fuck. I don't mean that I wanna have sex with him."

Dylan laughed boisterously at his mate and said, "You're disgusting."

Dylan and Justin spent five, almost six hours shopping at the mall. Midway through their shopping adventure, they had eaten lunch from Chipotle where they took from the others bowls and switched because they loved it. They roamed around the mall hand in hand, their other hands absolutely filled with shopping bags. They had gone to Abercrombie, Aeropostale, American Eagle, Banana Republic, Express, Forever 21, Gap, Hollister, H&M, Lids, and Aldo.

"-but that was complete bullshit because Stiman knew Maria would know how to calculate that in her head," Dylan rambled on. "Wait, why are we going in here?"

Continuing to pull Dylan into Kay Jewellers as he answered, "Let me buy us bond rings."

"But we've already spent friggin twelve hundred each," Dylan protested lightly. "That was a quarter of my savings since I started moving lawns and shovelling driveways and walkways when I was eight. We don't need--"

"Please?" Rick pleaded. "Whenever I see you, whenever we visit each other, I wanna see a commitment. I want others to know that you are spoken for."

Dylan lifted their joined hands to his lips, kissing the back of Rick's hand.

"Good afternoon," the grey-haired sales lady greeted sweetly from behind the glass counter. "How can I help you young men?"

Rick smiled at her and answered, "I would like a set of bond rings please."

Smiling at the adoration before her, the lady said, "Certainly. Seeing your linked hands, I'm guessing it's a heart bond?"

"Yes ma'am."

Walking to a different display, the lady told them, "Over here is our heart bond collection. Do you have a specific metal or colour in mind?"

Rick looked to Dylan as he responded, "I was thinking silver or platinum metal. Do you have a colour preference?"

"Umm..." Dylan said in thought. "I guess rose pink."

The sales lady grabbed four rose pink rings out of the display and told them, "These are our only rose heart bond rings. These two are made of silver, and these three are platinum."

Rick grabbed a silver ring that had a grooved black ring centred by rose, and said, "This is gorgeous."

Dylan, on the other hand, grabbed a platinum ring that had a painted silver ring in the middle.

Seeing the ring that Dylan was holding, Rick said, "I love that one even more."

Smiling, the sales lady said, "'Sweet Rose' that one is called. It's our most popular rose ring. It is made of platinum, painted rose with silver, and it is scratch and scuff resistant. The ring has a lifetime warranty, so if in ten years they do show signs of damage, we will have them repainted for you."

"That's fantastic!" Rick said with a big smile. "We'll take a set."

"Excellent! Do you know your ring sizes? For you, young man, I would suggest getting one a size or two higher because you look so young and will grow more as you age."

Dylan nodded, "I didn't thank of that. Thank you. I'm currently a size six, but I'll take a size seven."

"And I'm a size nine."

The sales lady crouched down and unlocked the stock cabinet. Leading the guys to the checkout, she asked, "May I interest you young men in metal polish? This will both clean the jewelry and strengthen the protective layer."

"Sure," Rick answered as he grabbed his wallet from his back pocket. "Two bottles please."

"Okay. You're total comes to thirteen hundred, forty-one dollars and twelve cents."

After handing his Amex to the lady, Rick asked Dylan, "Wanna go see a movie from here?"

"Yeah," Dylan answered as he checked the Cinemark website. "We can catch the 6:05 showing of 'Aquaman' if that's okay."

Signing the credit card slip, Rick replied, "Yeah, that's fine. I think we should put our bags in the car first."

"Thank you. Have a wonderful evening," Rick smiled at the sales lady. He then grabbed Dylan's hand again and told him, "And get Starbucks. I'm a basic white girl, I needs mah venti decaf nonfat half-sweet sugar-free no-whip light-ice salted caramel frappuccino."

After the film, Rick drove to East Rock. After parking, he smiled at his mate while reaching into the backseat for the Kay Jewellers bag. He then exited the vehicle, and Dylan followed suit. Standing at the front of the SUV, Rick placed his hands in Dylan's underarms and lifted him up to sit on the hood.

Placing the tip of Dylan's right ring finger into the heart bond ring, Rick said, "I don't know what our souls are made of, Dylan Jacob Parker... but yours and mine are the same."

Dylan allowed a tear to form in his eye as Rick slid the bond ring on.

"Richard Damien Berry, I will love you every single day for the rest of my life," Dylan told the dark-haired man as he slid the ring on Rick's finger. "And then in every moment we are together in the afterlife."

Rick craned his neck up and pressed their lips together. For a few moments they shared a lingering kiss before Rick rested the side of his head to Dylan's shoulder and buried his face in his neck. Rick smiled for a second, then pressed his lips to the skin and made another hickey.

"If nobody sees my bond ring they will certainly see my hickeys," Dylan said with an amused smile as he tried not to moan.

Happy with the love mark, Rick turned in Dylan's embrace. Together they gazed out at the scenery. The vast expanse of New Haven against the setting sun was gorgeous, stunning, warm.

Dylan kissed Rick's shoulder repeatedly. He then laid his lips on the warm skin of Rick's neck and suckled sweetly. After checking that he'd marked the skin appropriately, he moved to the other side of Rick's neck and made another.

Ten minutes later, Rick raised his hands and held onto Dylan's forearms that were holding him securely around his shoulders.

"You're leaving tomorrow," Dylan stated quietly, sounding forlorn.

"Hmm," Rick replied softly. "We still have twenty-three hours together. Let's enjoy it. Think not of separation, for I will hold you in my arms soon enough."

Dylan inhaled deeply, trying to stay positive, before saying, "Yeah, I'll see you in a couple of weeks."

Rick placed a sweet kiss to Dylan's forearm and responded, "And I will fly out here once a month until I move here in May. How about I spend Christmas with my family, and come back in time for the New Year?"

Dylan pressed a quick kiss to Rick's neck again before quietly replying, "Yeah. Yeah, I want you with me on New Year's."

The two remained silent, comfortable, for another five minutes before Dylan shivered in the cool October weather. So Rick said they'd go home to snuggle and watch some Netflix.

"What, did you empty your entire savings account?" Mrs. Parker asked when the boys for home, hands full of shopping bags.

"No," Dylan said indignantly. "I've got still got five bucks left."

"Ha ha," Mr. Parker said sarcastically. "I hope you're joking."

"I am, dad, I am. I'll check my bank account online in a minute, but I'm fairly certain I've used just a quarter of my savings. Besides, it's money that I've earned myself, so I think I deserve to spoil myself every now and then. We're gonna watch some Netflix and then go to bed. G'night."

Nearing the top of the stairs, Rick asked, "Your room or mine?"

"Change into comfortable clothes and come to mine," Dylan answered before obscenely giving his rump a shake.

Dylan stuffed his new purchases under his desk, and removed his grey pea coat and beanie. He was lying in bed wearing just a pair of black gym shorts when Rick walked in. Seeing that his Chase savings account held $3,589.27 Dylan took a screenshot and texted it to both his mom and dad.

Rick set up his own laptop on the bed while Dylan texted his friends.

The couple watched Grace & Frankie on Netflix for over three hours, Dylan lying on his back, with Rick's chest lying on his groin, head on stomach, and arms holding securely. Rick was so soothed, especially at the sensation of Dylan's fingers gently scraping on his scalp. At the end of an episode of the series, Rick lifted his head slightly, seeing Dylan fast asleep. He looked peaceful, truly angelic, and astoundingly beautiful. So Rick closed his laptop and very gently moved so he was lying on his side facing Dylan. Dylan, in his slumber, rolled to his side facing Rick, their noses almost touching.

Rick giggled quietly, it was almost inaudible, before softly kissing Dylan's nose.

"Mm, love y'too," Dylan mumbled, to which Rick wondered if he was on the edge of consciousness or if he just felt their bond even in sleep.

Dylan woke first. His forehead rested against the nape of Rick's neck, and his arm was wrapped around his stomach. Dylan smiled a bit before kissing Rick's neck. He looked to his bedside table, at the clock, seeing it was 7:08am. So he laid back down and was immediately asleep again.

Dylan was woken over an hour later by Rick turning over. Dylan's eyes had remained closed, but he was alert. He gently brought his face forward, and was pleased to feel his forehead resting the lips and stubble on Rick's face.

With his lips against Dylan's forehead, Rick smiled slightly and said, "Morning, my love."

"Mmm," Dylan playfully groaned in protest as he pulled Rick that much closer to him.

"Do I need to pepper kisses all over your face and neck to wake you?" Rick asked teasingly.

Trying, and failing, to hide his smile, Dylan again said, "Mm!"

Highly amused, Rick told the teen, "Come on. Use your words like a big boy."

Dylan pulled on Rick's lower back, causing their crotches to touch not softly. "Mm!"

Rick swiftly brought his lips to Dylan's in a heated, passionate kiss. Their lips danced and smacked together magnificently. Tongues were quickly introduced. The heavy kiss only lasted three seconds, but it was the most passionate kiss Dylan had ever shared with anyone.

"Jesus Christ," Dylan whispered, dazed.

"There you are," Rick said with a smile as he brushed Dylan's hair from his face. "Hello, my beautiful."

Dylan kissed the tip of Rick's nose before replying, "Hi."

"Want me to make you breakfast?"

"Mm-mm. On Sunday's my dad makes scrambled eggs, sausages, and home fries at 8:30. Let's just snuggle a bit longer."

"After breakfast I'm exercising," Rick stated as Dylan used his chest as a pillow. "Any other plans?"

"I was gonna ask you. Jason, Brett, and Teegan are going go-kart racing this afternoon. Sara, Lucy, Natalie, and Jeff are going to the waterpark. Jordan and Will will be playing video games. We can join any of them. Or just stay in and cuddle if you want."

"Mm," Rick said softly as he kissed Dylan's forehead. "More than one? Have a few go-kart races and then go to the water park? I wanna meet your friends."

"If the workout isn't too long we can do both. The guys are going to the track at 1:00 and the girls are going to the waterpark at 2:00."

"Okay," Rick responded as he slid his leg between Dylan's.

After another seven or eight minutes of snuggling in silence, Dylan put on a grey tee and walked with his hand joined with Rick's downstairs.

"Just on time, boys," Mr. Parker said brightly as he was stirring a pan full of diced potatoes.

As Dylan poured two mugs with coffee, Mrs. Parker asked, "What are you boys doing today?"

Dylan answered, "Rick and I going to workout after breakfast. After that we're meeting the boys for go-kart racing, and then going to the waterpark with the girls."

"Busy day," Mr. Parker said lightly. "What time if your flight, Rick?"

"At 7:30pm."

Dylan was quick to say, "We'll be back at 5:00 so he can pack. Dad, can Rick borrow a pair of swim trunks of yours?"

"Yeah, you can dig around," Mr. Parker replied easily as he poured a large bowl of whipped eggs into another frypan. "I'm pretty sure there's a pair in my bottom drawer. But I think, Rick, that you should pack before you guys leave. When you guys come back we will pick up McDonald's on our way to the airport."

After eating, Rick and Dylan again cleaned up the kitchen before going down to the basement.

"Ohhh, this is officially the coolest basement," Rick said in awe.

One one side of the basement was a Bowflex Treadclimber and a Bowflex Revolution. On the other side were three large sofas forming a semi-circle in front of a 60" TV that had a Nintendo Wii U and a PlayStation 4 hooked up to it. Noticing a round white flat object in the wall. It was a speaker. There were six of them, two on either wall and two on the ceiling. Surround sound speakers.

For two and a half hours Dylan walked on the Treadclimber while Rick did all these muscle-training exercises on the rod machine.

About halfway through the workout, Rick stood from the machine, staring at Dylan with hungry eyes and a smirk. He then pulled his tank over his head. His smile grew upon seeing Dylan's lustrous gaze.

After a very hot shower Rick and Dylan were heading out, Dylan grabbing his mom's car keys, but Mrs. Parker said, "Can you boys take your dad's car? I have a few things to pick up today and they won't fit in the Volvo."

So the boys took Mr. Parker's silver Volvo S90, but Rick told Dylan to drive so that the boy would get more driving experience to get his driver's license.

At The Only Game In Town, Dylan immediately spotted his friends in the lobby of the kart track. They all greeted each other amicably.

Blonde-haired boy Brett looked at Rick and Dylan's linked hands and said, "Well shit, it really is a heart bond. Hi, I'm Brett."

"Right," Dylan said with a soft chuckle. "Guys, this Rick, my heart bond mate. Rick, the blonde is Brett, buzz cut boy is Teegan, and shaggy-hair is Jordan. You guys race yet?"

Teegan answered, "Nah, we were waiting for you."

"Well, let's go then," Dylan said as he tried to lead Rick to the attendant.

"You go first," Rick said with a smile. "I need a Pepsi or something. Want something from the vending machines?"

Dylan gave Rick a chaste kiss before responding, "Orange juice, please."

Rick watched with a happy smile as his mate lined up with his friends to purchase race tickets. But the boy with the buzz cut, Teegan, walked back to Rick.

"Track's full," the boy said, not unhappily. "I'm okay with waiting for the next race."

"Want something to drink?" Rick asked as he walked toward the vending machines. After Teegan nodded his answer, Rick asked, "Tell me about Dylan."

Grinning, Teegan replied, "He was in love with Hannah. He told you about her, right? After she moved Dylan became the fuckboi of all fuckbois. He chased after so many girls at school. He was loved by all. Until four days ago, since he became mated. He's turned girls down left and right. I've never seen him like this. It's like... it's like you're the sun to him, radiating light and happiness. But I guess that comes with sharing a heart bond."

"Are you bonded?" Rick asked as he inserted coins into the machine.

"No," Teegan answered. "I'm waiting for my mate to come of age. What's it like? Bonding, I mean. Everybody says that it feels good. That suddenly your existence makes sense or gains purpose."

"It's..." Rick thought. "It's scary when the bonds begins to form. But, like, a good scary. Like, the happiest, giddiest scary you'd ever feel. Like your dad is pretending to be a tickle monster and you have to run for your life. But it only feels like that for a couple seconds. And then it feels like home. Safe and warm and loving. That feeling of home multiplies a hundred fold when your bond is solidified. So what do you want to drink?"

Teegan blinked his hazel eyes for a moment before replying, "Oh. Umm, a Dr. Pepper please."

Inserting more coins into the machine, Rick said, "So Dylan was the straightest straight boy ever."

"Yeah. If he was in a kin bond or something, he'd be plowing girl after girl. You make him happy, though. I'm actually sort of jealous that he has that."

Rick handed Teegan the bottle of soda as he told him, "You will have that when you've bonded. And if you have any other bond than a heart bond, you will find a woman to share your life with."

Dylan had raced four times, and Rick three. Rick had won once, Dylan won once, and a girl won another. Adrenaline pumped through their veins caused by the great speeds, sharp turns, bumping karts, and drive to win. Laughter erupted from their mouths, and banter ensued.

After an hour and a half of go-kart racing, Dylan told his friends that he and Rick would be going to Laurent Indoor Waterpark.

While driving, Dylan asked his mate, "What did you think of them?"

"They're cool," Rick answered. "Jordan and Brett were tough to beat on the track. Teegan, though, is worried about bonding. Had a good talk with him about it."

"Thank you, my love," Dylan told the man as he grabbed his hand. "He wouldn't talk with anybody about it. Not even his parents."

Walking into the waterpark from the locker room, Rick commented, "This place looks so much bigger than the website displays."

"Well they don't call it 'Connecticut's biggest indoor waterpark' for nothing. Lucy said they'd be waiting at the west corner. Oh, I see them."

"Ho would've thought," an orange-haired girl said warmly, "that Dylan Parker, James Hillhouse High's resident boyslut, would be in a gay relationship."

"Ha fucking ha. I can't be a virgin and a slut at the same time. Guys, this is Rick. Rick, these are my slut-shaming friends. Redhead is Sara, brunette is Lucy, blonde is Natalie, and the 'mo is Jeff."

"Pleasure is all mine," Rick told the group with a kind smile.

Jeff, after blatantly checking out Rick, said, "I always thought it would be me turning Silly Dilly."

Dylan rolled his eyes as he sat on a wooden chaise lounge and replied, "I'm still straight, Jeffrey. I'm only gay for my gorgeous Ricky Dicky Booboo."

Leaning into Dylan's beckoning arms, Rick responded, "You seriously gotta stop with the cute names."

"No cuddling," Natalie demanded. "Let's go line up for the Amazonian."

"Red shorts black hair," Sara said, eying a man close by as the group stood in line for the facility's largest water slide.

Jeff looked and replied, "Eight."

"White speedo blue eyes," Lucy asked.

Rick as already looking at the man and answered, "Nine."

Natalie nudged Dylan's arm and said, "Blue shorts six-pack abs."

Dylan knew she was referring to Rick, so he responded, "Thirty."

Jeff complained, "It's only on a one-to-ten scale."

"I know."

"Welcome to American Airlines. How may I help you?"

Rick handed the lady his passport and answered, "Checking in."

The lady smiled at Dylan, who had one arm Rick's lower back, and asked, "And you, sir?"

"He's not flying anywhere," Rick told the lady with a sweet smile. "My mate's just not looking forward to letting me go."

"You make a lovely couple," the lady commented as she typed. "You, Mr. Berry, are right on time. Check-in for your flight ends in two minutes. Do you have any bags to check?"

"Nope. Two carry-ons."

"Okay. Perfect. Here you are. Boarding begins in half an hour. Thank you so much."

Rick and Dylan stood close to the security check line for a few minutes, holding each other. Dylan's face was buried in Rick's warm, hard chest, his blue eyes going misty with the beginnings of tears.

"You're allowed to have to sex once a month," Dylan said suddenly. "Only once a month. I don't wanna know their names, I don't wanna hear when you've done it."

Rick softly grabbed Dylan's face and made their eyes connect. "Is that what you want?"

"No, but I know you're not a virgin. I will wait for you."

"And I will wait for you. I promise. Nobody else but you will touch me. Ever. I don't care that I have to wait another two years to be able to have sex. It's you and me now."

Dylan tearily gave Rick a heated kiss. They held each other that much tighter, safer.

Trying to choke back sobs, Dylan said, "It's only a couple of weeks. I'll see you soon enough."

"Yeah," Rick said with a teary smile. "Twelve days from now, actually. I'm counting the minutes already."

Dylan laughed slightly before sniffling. "I love you, Rick."

Smirking, Rick replied, "I love you more."

  1. A 'heart bond' is a pairing. Think of like a true love match, because that's essentially hat it is. The bond mates will love each other romantically and no one else in their lifetime. Yes, even after one dies. Sexual orientation does not matter. It also does not matter whether a party already has a love interest. This bond is solidified by each party holding their right hand over their soulmate's heart.
  2. A 'paternal bond' is more of a fatherly bond, where a man acts like that type of role model. It does not matter whether an individual does already have a father or father figure in their life. The universe thinks you need a father figure, so it's giving you one. This bond is solidified by each party holding their left hand on the side of their soulmate's head.
  3. A 'kin bond' brings two together and they feel like siblings. It does not matter if an individual already has their own siblings. This bond is solidified by each party holding their right hand on their soulmate's left shoulder.
  4. An 'accord bond' is a friendship bond. Each party becomes the other's best friend, even if they already hold another that close to heart. The universe believes you are not yet getting all that you can from this current best friend of yours, so they're giving you another. This soulmate will listen to you bitch always. They will tell you truths no one else is willing to. This bond is solidified by each party their right hands holding the other's right forearm, a forearm handshake if you will.
  5. A 'maternal bond is exactly the same as a paternal bond, just motherly.

A reader asked me to explain underage sex in this universe. So, as explained in chapter one, the minute an individual turns 15-years-old, they become able to find their soulmate if the other is also 15 years of age or older. But if the other is 17 years of age or older, they're an adult. Because of this, the pair are unable to become aroused or stay aroused around each other. But if the other soulmate is 15 or 16 years of age at the time of bond solidification, intimacy is allowed, even after the older one has turned 17 because sex has already occurred between the two.

If the pair is unable to have sex with each other, they certainly have the option of having sex with others. Each time they have sex outside of the bond after bond solidification, their bond dampens. It is possible to completely sever the bond with so much sex. If this occurs, the bond mates become depressed. Severely depressed.

If individuals refuse to solidify their bond, this will cause depression increasing in severity as years pass. The universe chose your soulmate for a reason. If your soulmate dies, depression only comes if it was a heart bond and you repeatedly have sex with others.

The only bond that requires intimacy is a heart bond. All other bonds to require physical contact to remain healthy, but it need not be often. Individuals begin to feel symptoms of depression after 80 days of no physical contact.

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